Early Childhood Development in Fiji

Contribute to your qualification by gaining practical educational experience in the field of early childhood development in Dawasamu, Fiji.


Program Information

This program, which is open to everybody with an interest, but ideal for people studying related degrees or qualifications, focuses on providing participants with practical experience using the theoretical knowledge they have gained in the classroom. Assist with phonics and comprehension focal groups, coordinating extracurricular games and activities, and also help young students develop to their full potential. Schools in Fiji are largely under-resourced and working with our partners and the broader community, you will assist in foundation building and setting learners up for the remaining years of their education.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Working with learners while they are in the early developmental stage provides them with a foundation to excel later in life, and gives them an opportunity to succeed that they may not have had otherwise. Utilise your theoretical learnings to implement specific foundational perspectives, including teaching concepts such as number sense, number concept, number development, spatial orientation and spatial insight, among others.

Educational support is one of the few things that can make a vast difference in the lives of these children and your work on this program with allow you to make a direct contribution to their lives and futures. By volunteering on this program, you will also get right to the heart of the needs of the community and work in collaboration with them to help realise longer term educational and sustainability goals.

Highlights include:

  • Implementing theoretical learning in a practical environment

  • Making a direct impact on learners right at the beginning of their educational development

  • Growing your capacity as a global citizen, while participating with other volunteers from all over the world

  • Meeting inspirational people, making lifelong friends and falling in love with Fijian culture.

Program Details

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Project Life

Weekdays

Your mornings will start at school, with a morning assembly and a teachers meeting, where you will help to outline the planned activities for the day. The rest of the day is spent in the classroom, including teaching, organising and coordinating various activities and assisting the teachers you are working with to improve the general efficiency of the specific classroom environment. This is where you will be able to apply the theoretical learnings from your qualification to a practical environment directly.

During school breaks, participants will conduct kids clubs in the villages of Dawasamu and assist with other projects necessary at that time. This includes lesson planning, resource making, workshops, gardening or other community programs or improvements and renovations to schools.

Accommodation

For the duration of the program, you will be staying in a basic dormitory-style room, which includes a communal kitchen and work area, as well as a living space to unwind with your fellow volunteers. Evening are generally spent eating dinner together with other participants, and keep in mind that meals are prepared on a rotational basis.

It is important to capitalise on your weekends and off days, as there are a variety of incredible activities to immerse yourself in while in Dawasamu. These range from island hopping, to hiking, to scuba diving and more.

Project Details

Our local partners, the community and local council have specifically requested our assistance in the areas of English language teaching, mathematics, sports education and arts, so these remain a prominent feature of our work in Dawasamu in general and trickle through to the foundational elements that we incorporate into early childhood development, including literacy, numeracy and spatial awareness.

How this project makes a difference:

Schools in Fiji are generally under-resourced and overcrowded. Locally trained teachers require as much assistance as possible to provide the necessary levels of education to enable and empower children to have access to greater future opportunities. Basic language, numeracy and literacy skills help to provide a link between different communities, as well as build the foundation to assist the longer term development of the learners.

Fiji's short, mid, and long-term objectives:

All of GVI’s programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this helps our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

When you arrive on base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate all our volunteers on local and global issues, so that they continue to act as active global citizen upon completion of any program. This in turn helps us to fulfill our mission of building a global network of people, united by their passion to make a difference.

Long-term objectives you will be directly contributing to on this program:


  • Improving early childhood development levels and implementing holistic educational techniques into the learning environment.

  • Building a strong relationship with primary schools teaching teams and management teams to further objectives and goals.

  • Longer-term development of the education sector in the area, by setting students up with a good foundation for their futures, as well as encouraging the implementation of new systems to improve efficiency, based on the current needs in the community.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conduct, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Exploration

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Don’t hesitate to talk to our field staff to get some advice on how to make the most of your time abroad.

Optional Side Trips


As an island nation, a lot of potential activities you can get involved with will be water based. Just a stone's throw away (or rather, a short boat ride away), you could visit something as exquisite as the famous pod of dolphins that reside on Moon Reef year round. Alternatively, you could consider a hike into the forest, or a swim in a few of the hidden waterfalls in the nearby area.

In case diving is not your thing, you can still take advantage of other in-water activities like scuba diving, which will allow you to experience the abundant marine life and colourful corals in the region. Participants who are dive qualified, and have a bit of good luck, will possibly enjoy visibility of up to 40m on a good day.


Suva, Fiji’s capital, is only a few hours away from our GVI project sites, and is known for its serene daytime atmosphere, which bustles into energetic nightlife at nightfall. Enjoy farmers markets, museums or even exhibitions across the city. Similarly, the historical (former) capital of Fiji, Levuka, which makes for an interesting day trip, is accessible by ferry and small boat and located on the nearby Ovalau Island.

The Team

Claire Ogg

Program Manager Caqalai
Meet Claire, our Program Manager on our Caqalai Base in Fiji. Claire received her degree in agricultural and environmental sciences and is also an avid diver and marine conservationist.

She has lived and worked on various continents around the globe and has extensive experience in the diving industry.

While travelling Claire has come across earthquakes, cyclones, volcanoes and pirates!!! Talk about living on the edge! Working for GVI is an adventure in itself, luckily not the dangerous kind. She was first attracted by GVI because of our good reputation within the industry and she likes the fact that we employ, train and give back to the communities that we work in.

Zara Roche

Operations Manager
Meet Zara, our awesome Operations Manager here in Fiji. Zara started out as an eager education volunteer right here in Fiji back in 2014 and she was impressed by the stunning location in Fiji and GVI's volunteering ethos. She has been with us ever since and has worked her way up to Operations Manager, overseeing all the logistics on our base.

Zara is a water baby and she loves to get into the water for a dive/swim at any opportunity I can. As a GVI staff member in Fiji, she gets the opportunity to dive into the South Pacific paradise often. "When your job doesn’t feel like a job because you are getting the opportunity to do what you love is a blessing! GVI is a one big family based organisation and I appreciate working for a company who believes in working together with communities there is a grassroots non-hierarchy approach. This approach I believe is a fantastic way of successfully delivering volunteering projects."

Michele Comber

Program Manager
Meet Michele, our brilliant program manager in Fiji. She has a lot of travel experience in the US around Europe. She volunteered for one year in Mombasa Kenya on the childcare programme, became Project Manager for three years and worked in South Africa on an under 18's programme.

She loves GVI because ''this job gives me the opportunity to work with people who volunteer from all around the world and being able to work alongside individuals who had the same drive and passion as me, willingness to give up their time, share their skills and knowledge to assist the schools and the community groups we work with.

I have had the honour to work with some amazing partners in different countries who have welcomed me into their communities and let me be a part of their lives , giving me the opportunity to grow and learn. Their strength and their faith and their beliefs that all things can be achieved if you have hope will always stay with me.''

Dane Lee Marx

Country Director
Meet Dane, GVI's cheerful country director for Fiji. He has spent several years as the Conservation and Ecology Manager on Frégate Island, a small private island in the Seychelles. There he had been fortunate to have overseen and implemented projects ranging from monitoring and protection of rare birds, invertebrates and sea turtles to wide-scale habitat restoration as well as management of significant operations responsibilities.

After leaving that position he took a year off to do some travelling – six months of flyfishing, camping and exploring new Zealand, visiting some friends and family in Australia, and some exceptional diving and island hopping in Indonesia. He holds a BSc in Biology, Earth & Environmental Sciences, an Hons. in Zoology, and a MSc in Conservation Biology.

For him, GVI  is an exciting organisation as it carries out an impressive range of high impact, grass-roots level projects in some of the most interesting locations across the globe. This and the combined focus on both community based development and a deep seated conservation aligned perfectly with his own interests and passions.

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.

When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!

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